Health providers lack IT infrastructure roadmap

The lack of a holistic digital healthcare strategy means the adoption of connected healthcare infrastructure is not uniform across the world, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan.

While more than 50 percent of healthcare providers don't have a healthcare IT roadmap, they acknowledge that digital health can and does boost care efficiency, Frost & Sullivan Healthcare research Analyst Shruthi Parakkal says in an announcement.

"Consequently, even the existing interoperability standards such as HL7, DICOM and Direct Project are not being utilized optimally by many providers," Parakkal says.

The report notes that:

  • Alliances among market participants aimed at information-sharing are enhancing medical device connectivity, with technological advances in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and RFID adding momentum.
  • Hospitals have an urgent need to have connected devices and healthcare IT solutions not only to manage their data, but also to quality for Meaningful Use and other incentive programs.
  • Facing cost constraints, hospitals also find it challenging to manage multiple companies that enable connectivity among different devices, communication protocols and workflows.
  • Medical device makers that are offering connectivity functionality tend to offer gateways that are proprietary and closed.
  • Manufacturers of vendor-neutral and open medical connectivity solutions are in demand.

A recent survey found that physicians under the age of 40 are more likely to see a fully connected healthcare system soon becoming a reality than their older peers. Sixty-one percent of those over 40 say it won't happen until 2020 or later, while 67 percent of the younger group believe it will happen in one to five years.

David Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund, in recent a Wall Street Journal article, outlines several forward-looking scenarios he envisions with a fully connected healthcare system. The limitations on that happening--such as security and privacy concerns and interoperability woes--are human problems that can be fixed, he says.

To learn more:
- download the full report
- read a preview (.pdf)
- here's the announcement

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